POPULISM AS A GENERATOR OF THE FAR-RIGHT EXTREMISM ON THE EXAMPLE OF MIGRANT CRISIS
Keywords:populism, far-right extremism, populism elements, terrorism, migrant crisis
Populism is obviously a term with significant position within political practice, academic discourse, media pages. This term is often used synonymous with “establishment opponent”, and seems independent from certain political ideas, because it overestimates the behavior over contents. That is why the term is primarily related to certain sentiments and emotions, so it could often be heard that populists are “mad”, and their voters “disappointed” or chronically “dissatisfied”. One more common thread among populist leaders is that they do not love “complex democratic systems” of contemporary government. Instead, they prefer direct democracy like referendum. In that case, the leader makes decision in matter which is simply not possible in traditional democracy.
Economic crisis, which particularly hit certain EU countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, and Iceland, was felt beyond borders of these countries that were hardest hit by it. Populists used the crisis for dramatizing its effects and simplified it as a struggle for workplaces and national markets. This pattern showed successful on the example of Trump’s victory on the USA elections, as well as during preparation and forthcoming success of Brexit. Still, outside of Spain and Greece that followed leftist populist pattern, the most drastic populist reaction on the far-right ideological spectrum was caused by the refugee crisis in 2015. European national and populist discourses used the opportunity for pointing out more often the threat from Islamization of the Old Continent. What also went in hand for the far-right populists, were terrorist attacks on the European soil, which coincided with the migrant wave. They promised the defense of national, as well as European Christian culture and identity, from the influence of outer-European (non-Christian) immigration of large volume.
At the end, there is a key question, or better two of them: Does populism takes more swing in Europe and is the Europe’s future in the hands of populists? The first answer is unequivocally affirmative, and that is clarified in this paper. As for the second question, it is more complex, so the answer would be the same. Namely, the circumstances are still in populist’s favor, and the trend of further rise of populist ideologists and protagonists will continue. What is the problem for populists is how to continue successfully with populist mantra after coming into power. Claims about excellence, the right address for people to refer against the elites, and the exploitation of eternal vulnerability on the line “elites inside and hateful adversary outside”, are not easily defensible on the long run in the period after populists come into power. These claims are eventually going to become an easy target for discredit by organized political opponents that are not basing their political ideology on expressed populist patterns.
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